A group seeking to define an arts roadmap for Evanston will hold a series of five public meetings over the next several weeks to learn more about what residents want for arts policy, programs and infrastructure in the city.

The project, funded by a $25,000 appropriation from the city, involves city staff, the Evanston Community Foundation, and the city’s appointed Arts Council.

The meetings, billed as “listening sessions” will be held:

  • Thursday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 20, 7 to 9 p.m., at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.
  • Monday, Sept. 24, 7 to 9 p.m., at Oakton Elementary School, 436 Ridge Ave.
  • Friday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd.
  • Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive.

Whether people attend a meeting or not, they are invited to share their thoughts through an online survey. The survey will be available Sept. 16 through Oct. 7 at

The vision identified from the meetings and online survey will provide the foundation for an effort by the Arts Council in collaboration with the Community Foundation and other local groups to develop a  comprehensive plan for a multi-year effort to develop and integrate arts into overall city planning.

Preliminary findings and recommendations will be shared with the public for comment at two open community meetings in November. The final report will be issued in January.

Project organizers say Evanston is not unique in its search to identify economic opportunities created by a strong arts community. Throughout the U.S., communities are looking closely at the arts experiences they offer to residents and visitors alike.

They argue that the arts provide more to communities than audience experiences and income for artists. and can serve as an important economic engine for Evanston.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Not needed here

    Evanston has plenty of arts already.

    I find it really hard to believe that this is even necessary.

    This hands down is one of the richest art communities in northern Illinois, if not the state.

    $25,000 appropriation for a study – A WASTE OF MONEY!

    And this comment coming from a volunteer for YEA.

    Amazing, no wonder Evanston is in fiscal dire straits.

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